As people in Alaska like to say, “If Texas doesn’t quit saying they’re the biggest state, we might just cut ourselves in half and make them third biggest.” Alaska is HUGE: it’s bigger than the 22 smallest U.S. states combined. If you dropped it on top of the rest of America, it would stretch almost all the way across the country! So Alaska has lots of room for huge mountains, beautiful glaciers, and cool animals, including 200,000 of the state animal, the moose. By comparison, there are only about 730,000 people – not surprising for a state with a record low temperature of negative 80 degrees. At the least, everyone has lots of space.
Wee ones: A moose has 4 legs. How many legs are in your room right now? Is it more or less than 4? Count up the legs!
Little kids: If Alaska is the 49th state to join the U.S., how many states had already joined? (Hint if needed: If it were the 9th state, how many states would come before?) Bonus: Because Alaska is so far north, it has very long daylight during the summer. If the sun is up for 22 hours in Alaska, but only 14 hours in Texas, how much longer is it up in Alaska?
Big kids: There may be 200,000 moose in Alaska, but there are about 900,000 caribou. How many more caribou than moose are there? Bonus: Alaska covers about 660,000 miles. So if Alaska did cut itself in half, how much bigger than Texas’ 268,000 square miles would each half still be?
The sky’s the limit: By comparison, the entire UK (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) covers about 94,000 square miles. How many whole UK’s could you fit inside Alaska?
Wee ones: Different for everyone…if it’s just you and a grown-up, you’ll have 4 legs all together, the same number as 1 moose!
Little kids: 48 other states came first. Bonus: 8 more hours in Alaska.
Big kids: About 700,000 more caribou. Bonus: 62,000 square miles.
The sky’s the limit: 7 of them, which comes out to about 658,000 miles (using the rounded numbers here).
Tomorrow we’ll visit a much smaller state with a way bigger name! Learn how you can join our Road Trip here.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.